04th Mar2019

Glasgow Frightfest 2019: ‘Here Comes Hell’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Margaret Clunie, Timothy Renouf, Tom Bailey, Jessica Webber, Charlie Robb, Robert Llewellyn, Nicholas Le Prevost, Jasper Britton, Maureen Bennett | Written by Jack McHenry, Alice Sidgwick | Directed by Jack McHenry

Here-Comes-Hell-poster

Filmed in black and white, with cut-glass British accents and a dodgy American in the cocktail party mix, a sophisticated 1930s soiree at an isolated country mansion descends into carnage, gore and demonic possession as rivalries and old friendships are put to the test when a gateway to Hell opens up.

Imagine – if you will – that at some point during his illustrious career, schlockmeister William Castle decided to take a trip to England to shoot a film about demonic possession; and then imagine if Castle managed to do Evil Dead, complete with buckets of blood and some fantastic (if slightly OTT) gore and monster effects BEFORE Sam Raimi did Evil Dead. Than imagine whilst in England he happened to see a Carry-On film and was inspired to add in some over the top camp characters and back it up with a script that played for laughs as much as it did for horror… Some might say moreso.

Well that film would be Here Comes Hell.

I say this is the kind of film Castle would have made as it features the kind of schlocky (in the best possible way) horror he was renowned for. The film is, of course, also a pastiche of the “old dark house” films of the 30s – and MANY other genre films in fact, from the birth of the genre to the gore-filled classics of the 80s… Only Here Comes Hell has something that my imaginary William Castle film, or any film from the eras Jack McHendry and co. pastiche, would never have: two badass female leads who kick as much arse, come the end of the film, as Bruce Campbell ever did in the ENTIRE Evil Dead franchise!

Walking a fine line between comedy and horror can be tricky, especially when you’re aiming for the broad humour of Here Comes Hell, but Mchendry and co-writer Alice Sidgwick play the situation for more old-school splat-stick than sheer terror. Which means that the laughs are as integral to the story as the horror elements. Thankfully McHendry also has the perfect cast to back up the ridiculousness – each actor playing up their characters foibles in the best possible way: the VERY American oil tycoon’s son from Texas, the pro-tennis player who is a “player” off the court too, and the foppish gent who has more money than sense and who kicks of this hellish trip for himself and his friends. However it the women that are the real stars here – Margaret Clunie is perfectly bitchy as the well-to-do Christine yet manages to turn [anti] heroine come the films denouement; whilst Jessica Webber’s “mere” legal secretary Elizabeth is the Ash Williams of the piece, showing that no matter the socio-politicial class (or gender for that matter), a hero is still a hero.

Here Comes Hell is one of those films, like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room, that is destined to become a late-night crowd-filled cinema camp-classic. And deservedly so!

**** 4/5

Here Comes to Hell screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre on Friday 1st March, as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2019.

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